Google is everywhere these days so changing their homepage might not be as big of a deal as it sounds. After all, when is the last time you actually went to Google without already typing in your search phrase via another web form or tool?
Maybe that's why Google has modified the extremely minimal interface that made them stand out from Yahoo and Altavista. Google initially attracted people because it was so straight forward. It was clear, simple, and concise. Unlike Yahoo where users would go and become bombarded by all sorts of news, and other various resources; Google only had a search field and a logo. The choice to users was clear. If I need to search I can use Google. Yahoo in contrast does everything.
Although there were many other factors that later contributed to it's success, the minimalist interface was the key distinguishing characteristic that set Google apart. Changing this interface is a dramatic move by Google. Of course, they've done it somewhat discreetly. They initially announced that you could customize your Google homepage but didn't change it on you. Now however, they have taken the liberty to already add a handful of modules to your homepage for you.
AJAX takes over.
When you look at how Google has executed the homepage modules you might think they've done it quite well. From a developers perspective it's pretty nifty. You can drag and drop modules reorganizing them however you want very easily. You can also add modules with a slide menu that comes in to the left of your screen. But is it really something people will use?
I'm still not sure if this a good idea. As I prefer Google becuase of it's simplicity; the thought of transforming Google into another Yahoo seems a little disconcerting. I'm almost more comfortable removing all of the modules from my Google homepage than keeping them on there. After all, the modules are a bunch of tools that I already have elsewhere so I'll probably never use any of the modules. My apple dashboard gives me weather and newsupdates faster, and I can use del.icio.us for all of my online bookmarks. What's your take on the whole thing?